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Friday, June 21, 2019

189 Lives Changed - By Linux

I've been at this business of putting Linux-powered computers into the homes of financially disadvantaged kids since 2005, one way or the other. That's 14 years and north of 1670 computers placed. Throughout those years, I've shared with you some of our successes,  and spotlighted the indomitable spirit of the Free Open Source Community and The Linux Community as a whole. I've also shared with you the lowest of the low times for us, and me personally.

But through it all, Reglue has maintained our mission of placing first-time computers into the homes of financially disadvantaged students. By onesies and twosies mostly. A multi-machine learning center here and there, by far the greatest is the Bruno Knaapen Technology Learning Center. And as much of a challenge as that was, we have another project of even greater measure.

If you don't know who Bruno Knaapen is, I suggest you follow the link. Bruno will go down in history as a person who helped more people adapt to Linux than anyone, at any time. Bruno's online contributions are still a treasure trove of Linux knowledge. So much, individuals pay out of their pocket to make sure that information remains available. Going down that list, you will come to understand the tenacity and knowledge that man shared with his community. I was one of those that learned at his elbow.

So, as much work as it was creating the learning center in Bruno's memory, what we have ahead of us now pales that effort. So much, It woke me up at 4:00AM this morning, making me doubt myself as if it could even be done.

Since you are reading this, you can be assured it can and will. After a number of calls and meetings, we've put a plan together that will work. All directors and volunteers are on board to complete the largest single installation project we've ever planned.

In May of this year, I received a call from a teacher from the high school here in Taylor.
We've worked together before in collaborating the placement of computers so her caller ID came as no surprise. What she communicated was. A surprise that is, and it took me a full 30 seconds to respond to her request.

Over the past school year, there was a huge influx of children into this school district and others in the area. By the time the counting was done, she reckoned there were 189 students in Taylor that were not able to afford a computer and to her knowledge, none of these children had ever had a computer in their homes. She asked me if we could accommodate them. I did a quick inventory in my head of what we had at the shop and what might come available and told her yes.

I hung up the phone and began calling directors and volunteers, informing them of the task ahead. On each new ring of the phone, I was prepared for the inevitable, "Are you out of your mind?"

That didn't happen and the project has been officially placed on the priority calendar for the next two months.

Our inventory is decent at this time. While I do not have the full 189 machines at the ready, I do have
the majority of them triaged and stacked in order of their need. Some need RAM, some need a hard drive. etc. But when it's all done and some promised computers do make their way to our door.....

We will make this happen.

Now, that tiny receiver behind my ear is overhearing some of you.  "Really Ken?"  "189 computers are going to change lives?"


You bet they are and I ask you to harken back to the moment when you first sat behind your first computer. Do you think that fantastic moment isn't deserved simply because it's given to them? I should hope not. But let me tell you how it will change lives, in ways most people don't think about.

Every one of those machines will be Linux-powered. This window into their new world will introduce 189 kids to the freedom to do whatever they wish on their computer, not constrained by lock-in or punishing licenses. The door to their new awareness of the world will be unimpeded and simple.

The world of STEM education will be introduced to them via FOSS and the Milky Way Galaxy will come alive for them, as will the mystery of the quantum realm and everything that falls in between.

So, when someone asks me what I did over my summer vacation, I'll just smile.

What's a vacation?

There are numerous ways you can help if so inclined. Email me and we'll sort it out.

Oh, and if you are still under the impression that 189 isn't such a big deal, go ahead and do 189 pushups. No, it's all right...

I'll wait.

All-Righty Then.....

1 comment:

  1. Yep, that's right.
    a slow, even pace into these kid's futures.
    they have no idea of the wonders they are going to take part in.


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